KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Though well below pandemic peaks, the delta variant continues its spread among the unvaccinated and immuno-suppressed.
Case totals in Jackson County are up 47% when compared to last week. In Kansas City case total are up nearly 70%, according to data posted Monday to Missouri’s COVID Dashboard.
Hospitals are not overwhelmed but hospitalizations are up across the state. According to the most recent numbers, statewide about 1,260 people are being treated at hospitals for COVID-19. A third of them are in the ICU.
There are similar trends in Kansas.
“Yeah so we’ve watched this over the weekend and we’ve seen a steady increase,” Lance Williamson, an RN for the University of Kansas Health System said.
COVID-19 case numbers have soared since bottoming out in late spring. As of Monday, 54 people were staying at a KU health system’s hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19, 13 of those patients were in the ICU.
“You know, I think that if we see that things get more unsafe for even fully vaccinated people depending on what we find from delta variant. Next week may be even less safe than next week,” Williamson said.
The state of Kansas is also tracking 125 confirmed cases of the delta variant in Johnson County which is up 12 from numbers posted three days ago. Wyandotte County is up 21 cases up the delta variant in the same timeframe.
“Last year that variant, for every one person who was infected, that person would infect 2 to 3 individuals. For delta, for every one person that’s infected, it looks like they can infect 6 to 8 additional people,” Elizabeth Holzschuh, epidemiologist for the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCHDE), said.
“If we don’t have the shots in the arms of as many people as possible, if you don’t take the public health intervention of wearing a mask, we’re giving the virus an opportunity to mutate. So keep those things in mind,” Sanmi Areola, director of the JCHDE, said.
The discussion on public health orders and mask mandates have intensified over the past week and according to health leaders in Kansas, case numbers could ultimately force a breaking point.
“It’s changing week by week and I think that states and counties and local governments are going to have to take a hard look a their community numbers and make changes based on what might be needed,” Williamson said.